Leaf decomposition

Long-term influence of deforestation on tree species composition and litter dynamics of a tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico

Zou X, Zucca CP, Waide RB & McDowell WH (1995)
Long-term influence of deforestation on tree species composition
and litter dynamics of a tropical rain forest in
Puerto Rico. Forest Ecology and Management 78:

Understanding the long-term impact of deforestation on ecosystem structure and function of tropical forests may aid in designing future conservation programs to preserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem productivity. We examined forest structure, tree species composition, litterfall rate, and leaf litter decomposition in a mid-successional forest (MSF) and an adjacent mature tabonuco forest (MTF) in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico. Whereas the MTF site received limited human disturbance, the MSF site had been cleared for timber production by the beginning of this century and was abandoned after hurricanes struck the Luquillo Mountains in the 1920s and 1930s. We found that the MSF was dominated by successional tree species 50 years after secondary succession, and did not differ in tree basal area and litterfall rate from the MTF. Leaf decomposition rate in the MSF was higher than in the MTF, but this differencew as small.O ur resultss how that deforestation has long-term (over 50 years) influence on tree species composition and that recovery of leaf decomposition processes in secondary forest is relatively faster than that of tree species composition.

Non-Indigenous Bamboo along Headwater Streams of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico: Leaf Fall, Aquatic Leaf Decay and Patterns of Invasion

O'CONNOR, PAUL J.; COVICH, ALAN P.; SCATENA, F. N.; LOOPE, LLOYD L. 2000. Non-indigenous bamboo along headwater streams of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico: leaf fall, aquatic leaf decay and patterns of invasion. Journal of Tropical Ecology 16 :499-516.

The introduction of bamboo to montane rain forests of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico in the 1930s and 1940s has led to present-day bamboo monocultures in numerous riparian areas. When a non-native species invades a riparian ecosystem, in-stream detritivores can be affected. Bamboo dynamics expected to in¯uence stream communities in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) were examined. Based on current distributions, bamboo has spread downstream at a rate of 8 m y-1. Mean growth rate of bamboo culms was 15.3 cm d-1. Leaf fall from bamboo stands exceeded that of native mixed-species forest by c. 30% over a 10-mo study. Bamboo leaves (k = -0.021), and leaves from another abundant riparian exotic, Syzygium jambos (Myrtaceae) (k = -0.018), decayed at relatively slow rates when submerged in streams in ®ne-mesh bags which excluded macro-invertebrate leaf processors. In a second study, with leaf processors present, bamboo decay rates remained unchanged (k = -0.021), while decay rates of S. jambos increased (k = -0.037). Elemental losses from bamboo leaves in streams were rapid, further suggesting a change in riparian zone / stream dynamics following bamboo invasion. As non-indigenous bamboos spread along Puerto Rico streams, they are likely to alter aquatic communities dependent on leaf input.
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